The Sims 2: Apartment Pets DS Review

When The Sims 2: Apartment Pets came in the mail, we were excited to get our paws on it. Previous experiences with spin-off Sims 2 games left us scowling, and we wanted more than anything to wipe the slate clean. Unfortunately, Apartment Pets isn't the revelation we hoped it'd be. Pets are no doubt a great addition to the Sims universe, but focusing on animals leaves Apartment Pets noticeably void of any classic Sim gameplay.

Forget making friends, cooking meals and gardening. In Apartment Pets, you are a slave to the good care of your furry friends. You still make sure that your Sim eats, sleeps and uses the bathroom, but that's it. There is no Free Play, so it's the Story mode or nothing. When you enter the game, you learn that your uncle Bill is away on some mysterious trip and he's let you stay in his apartment until he comes back. You don't have to pay rent, but you are in charge of running his pet spa.

So here you are in a new apartment and with a new business. As soon as the game begins, you should expect Sims to ask for your animal expertise (they just want free room and board for their pets). Your uncle Bill told all of his animal cronies that you took his place at the local shelter while he is away, so naturally, random Sims will show up unannounced with pet in hand. Your days are soon filled with some stranger's cat or dog running through your apartment demanding attention. Eventually, you come to resent them, because making or buying pets of your own isn't an option. That's right. The only dogs or cats you can bond with are the animals dumped in your lap. After all of your hard work and perhaps a bit of bonding, their owners magically return, leaving you with a bit of cash.

When you are not ensuring the happiness of your foster pets, you must take care of the customers who come to your spa. About five customers walk through the door each day, each with a different pet and a combination of problems. As you continue to diagnose and treat your clientele, you find that these tasks become tedious and boring. The only spa-related mini-game that maintains some of its appeal is the matching game where you outfit the animal in a specific collar, hat or eyewear.

After earning that dolla dolla bill, you can spend your cash on the pets, the spa, your apartment or yourself. Don't get too excited though, because your shopping spree won't last long unless you've saved up for awhile. The purchasable items in Apartment Pets are all incredibly expensive and small items like a shirt or even a toy mouse for your cat can cost over $2,000. If you can manage to save enough for a new couch, you don't even get the privilege of placing it. The game does all your decorating automatically.

Socializing is another classic Sims feature that is missing from this game. You can greet and admire your customers' pets, but that is the extent of your friend-making. There are no crazy date nights or house parties to be had because your Sim is just a side-note to the overall animal theme. Because of that, calling this a Sims game is misleading.

The Sims 2: Apartment Pets is a subpar pet game, complete with birds, guinea pigs, snakes and rabbits to interact with and enjoy. Graphically, it resembles other portable Sim games of this generation, but that is where those similarities end. If you are looking for a decent pet sim, this one may satisfy, but if you were hoping for a more Sim-focused experience, keep searching.

What's Hot: Pets.

What's Not: Shallow customization options, no social capabilities, no pets of your own.